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Subject:Intricate Asian Brasswork - any ideas?
Posted By: CV Sat, Jul 08, 2017 IP:

This is, apparently, an ordinary Benares tray until you look closer and realise the engraving is on the same scale you would expect to see on a silver locket or pocketwatch.

I've gone over it, it isn't totally symmetrical let alone a repeat, there is no way it is machine made. Doesn't seem very old either.

Impossible to capture on photo in any real sense, I added a (rather nasty, sorry, it's in workshop) teaspoon for scale. I can't find anything on this scale online.

What I find most stunning is the humility (for want of a better word) of the tray, you could walk past it every day for years without noticing it, you have to sit and really look to see it at all.

I also have two vases on the same scale but simpler trefoil vines that come off looking like Neillo.

Any ideas?

Subject:Re: Intricate Asian Brasswork - any ideas?
Posted By: CV Sun, Jul 09, 2017

Here is a daylight image.

Subject:Re: Intricate Asian Brasswork - any ideas?
Posted By: Robert Mon, Jul 10, 2017

Very nice. I have a similar tray except that some details are inlaid with blue, red and black colored lac. I've read that the very fine hand engraving is often referred to as Sia Kalam (steel pen) engraved work. These seem to have been made throughout the 19th century, mainly for the British. By the 20th century the art form seems to have mostly died out.

Subject:Re: Intricate Asian Brasswork - any ideas?
Posted By: CV Tue, Jul 11, 2017

Thank Robert,

Just the words "Sia Kalam" unlocked many doors I could not find before on google.

I have seen the coloured lac myself, just never on this minute, intricate, scale, decorating a pretty ordinary brass tray. Looking into it, could it have been a personal project? | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |